Eating in Andalusia: Desserts and Drinks

18 Mar

One thing I did not eat: The bitter Seville oranges lining the street

Ok, I know it might seem from my last post that I could not possibly have eaten any more during my short week in Spain. But oh, I did. See, my excuse is that it rained almost every day I was there (I know, I was not expecting this either). And it turns out there are very few public spaces in southern Spain that are indoors– people tend to congregate in outdoor plazas, and lots of smaller cafes have only outdoor seating. Even a lot of the tourist attractions were outside. So when we wanted to take refuge from the rain (and couldn’t contemplate another tapas), we were obliged to duck into a bar or bakery for an hour or so.
At least, that’s what I kept telling myself.
We can start with the drinks. There were two drinks on seemingly every menu in Seville: Cruzcampo beer and tinto de verano. Cruzcampo brewery was founded in Seville, which I guess explains its huge popularity there– it is the only or primary beer in a lot of places. I took one sip of Brett’s, and that was enough for me. I’m not a beer-lover, and it tasted pretty much like Budweiser or something to me– not something I would seek out, though I’m sure some people would like it.
Tinto de verano was much more up my ally. This seems to be the south of Spain’s version of sangria (which I hardly ever saw offered). It’s a mix of red wine and a carbonated lemon-y drink, served cold. It’s very refreshing, and I found it a good drink for those times when we really were just sitting somewhere to take a break, and I didn’t want anything strong.

A lady's portion of tinto de verano

The day that it rained the hardest, by the way, happened to be a Wednesday, which is apparently long-awaited all over Spain due to the deal that a chain called “100 Montaditos” (100 little sandwiches) has. On Wednesdays, all of their sandwiches (which are, as the title implies, little) are 1 euro, and if you buy it with a sandwich a big mug of beer or tinto is only 2 euros. The sandwiches are mediocre, but if you’re getting the ones that are normally 2 euros they’re a pretty good deal, and the place was certainly packed all day long.

Two montaditos and a beer: 4 euro

On the stronger side of things, I was informed by Mother Spice that I had to try sherry while I was in Andalusia, as this fortified wine is only made in the region. This proved a little difficult at first, not because places didn’t carry it, but because I had no idea what it was called in Spanish– it turns out it’s “Jerez,” the name of the area where it is produced. The Spaniard I finally got this out of was completely bewildered as to why we English-speakers would change this to “sherry.” In any case, the sherry I tried was much drier than those I’ve had before, and so could be drunk with a meal rather than as a dessert.
It was perhaps not the wisest decision, however, to follow our sherry-tasting with agua de sevilla, but we happened to be going straight from that restaurant to a flamenco show at La Carboneria. This is the venue advertised everywhere as the best for flamenco in Seville, though we actually enjoyed a more amateur show on Calle Betis in Triana even more. Either way, “agua de sevilla” was advertised heavily in La Carboneria, and Brett’s Spanish friend informed us that it was “very local,” and we had to try it. Far from being water, Brett’s report of it being made was “a third champagne, a third pineapple juice, and a third mystery mixture.” A wikipedia search shows that the “mystery mixture” was probably a combination of whiskey and cointreau. In any case, this delicious combination was topped off with whipped cream and cinnamon– and while a whole pitcher may have been slightly ambitious, it was certainly delicious.

Dessert or drink? Agua de sevilla

Thankfully, however, there were some days when our rain-breaks came in the form of baked goods rather than beverages. My favorite of these, hands down, was churros y chocolate. Though fairly common, it took us a little while to find somewhere serving this combination, but it was well worth the wait. The churros in Spain are not covered in cinnamon sugar, but are simply long pieces of fried dough. When ordered “y chocolate,” they come with hot chocolate that is intensely rich and thick and, blissfully, you are encouraged to dip your churro into the chocolate. One would be hard pressed to find a better combination.

Take your churro...

... and give it a dip!

We also tried some other local pastries, many of which were excellent. I unfortunately didn’t catch the name of the honey-soaked flaky pastries in every window, but they were surprisingly good– I thought they would be overly sweet, but they turned out to have a delicate aniseed flavor balancing out the honey. We had intended to search out one of the many convents that apparently sell nun-baked pastries from their windows, but unfortunately in this one mission the rain thwarted us. Brett did find them after I left, however, and snapped a picture of their traditional muffins for me.

Nun-baked muffin= nunfin.

And that, I believe, is the end of my culinary adventure in Spain. I am now back in Washington, and eating lots of vegetables to try to cancel out the effects of my indulgent week. (Let’s all pretend the brownie recipe coming later this week just didn’t happen.)

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One Response to “Eating in Andalusia: Desserts and Drinks”

  1. godmother Marcia March 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Hi Darlin..was wondering when you would get to Churros y Chocolate, my favorite from a trip to Spain (in the Wayback Machine)..I had them Every Morning. Love the posts!!

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